Christmas is amazing, isn’t it? You get to spend time with family and friends, bake cookies, and spread that Christmas cheer. It’s really one of my favorite times of the year! But as you can imagine, there are so many things- and people- competing for your time, and it can be hard to enjoy this season if you’re Just. So. Busy. Believe me, I get it. That’s why I’m working towards having a low-key Christmas this year, to keep myself from burning out. I’m not alone in this, right? Do you feel like things are just way too busy this time of year? Here are some tips to keeping your Christmas low-key and low-stress.
Make a calendar of events
There are so many wonderful things going on during the Christmas season. Drive-through Christmas lights, Christmas parties, live nativity scenes… not to mention family Christmases! We’re having three Christmases this year among our families; are you in the same boat? With all of these events happening, some at the same time, we need to stay focused and organized.
Print out a December calendar page, or use your phone, or your regular planner, and start writing down the important dates. Family Christmas celebrations should be done first, and then look at the other fun activities to see what can fit in your schedule. Since you’re looking to have a low-key Christmas, try to limit your activities to one or two a week. Any more can get overwhelming, especially with young kids.
Learn to say no
In addition to attending events, lots of opportunities arise to volunteer! Help bake cookies for your church, let your child be in the Christmas play, sign up to volunteer for the school’s Christmas party… it all adds up. And you can only stretch yourself so far before you realize you’re not enjoying this anymore.
So what can you do?
One simple word: No.
It’s so okay to say no to things that either don’t fit your schedule, or bring you joy! I’ve had to say no to plenty, although I admit I also have a problem saying no. There’s no need to feel guilty! You’re only one person and you can’t do everything; and no one’s going to think less of you for saying no. Try to prioritize your activities and commitments; if your family Christmas overlaps with a volunteer event, it’s probably best to make your family the priority here.
Create a budget
I’m a huge fan of budgets. Knowing where our money is and where it’s going has really kept us in check, and Christmas is no exception. Did you know that Christmas is at the same time every year? Figure out a total dollar amount you want to spend, and divide that number by 11. That’s how much you need to save each month to have that amount of money by Thanksgiving. Saving $50.00 a month sounds a lot better than coming up with $500.00 all at once!
We created a separate savings account at the bank just for Christmas money. We have an automatic transfer that sends money to that account every month so we don’t even have to think about it. And when Thanksgiving rolls around, I know that I’ll have the money to spend on Black Friday the next day.
Choose who to buy gifts for
It’s so hard to be choosy with buying Christmas gifts. You probably have a long list of people you want to buy for- Your kids, nieces, nephews, your extended family, your child’s entire class… believe me, I know the feeling. But the math just doesn’t work; I’ve tried so many times, but I’ve come to realize that I just can’t buy something for everybody.
The best thing to do is make a list. Just start writing down everyone you want to buy for, and put your total amount of Christmas money at the top. Divide that by the number of people to get an average dollar amount per person. Now, you might want to change that depending on who you’re buying for; you might want to spend more money on your own child than every kid in her class.
So for example, your list could look something like this:
- Spouse: $50
- Kid: $50
- Grandparents: $20 each
- Nieces and nephews: $20 each
- Kids’ classmates: $20 total
Just make sure that total doesn’t exceed the total amount you budgeted! Adjust where needed. I’ve also found that sometimes I don’t spend the entire $20 on someone; if I only spend $15, I can roll that over to another person who has a more expensive gift.
Do most of your shopping online
Who’s guilty of facing the crowds on Black Friday morning to get the best deals? I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoy going out and getting most of my Christmas shopping done in one day… to a point. To be honest, I pretty much only go to Meijer, and that store really isn’t that bad. Most people are out at like Wal Mart and Best Buy getting their expensive electronics, and I’m over here with a cart full of books, Legos, and clothes.
And there’s really nothing wrong with wanting to go out that morning; sometimes it can be fun! But what about the rest of the Christmas season? I don’t know about you, but everywhere is just CRAZY starting from Black Friday till Christmas. Sometimes I don’t even want to go grocery shopping because the stores are just so busy.
That’s why I think that after Black Friday, I’ll be doing the rest of my shopping online. It’s so much easier to click a few buttons while drinking some coffee, and just relax knowing that these presents will be on my doorstep in 2 days! Amazon Prime is amazing like that; we’ve had it for a few years and we’ll never go back. Their 2-day shipping may be my demise one day, though.
I also always go through Swagbucks when making online purchases! You can get cash back (in the form of Swagbucks) on qualifying purchases, which allows you to get your gift cards sooner. Not familiar with Swagbucks? Check out my post on how to earn $50 a month in free gift cards!
In the end, Christmas is all about spending time with family and soaking up memories. Having a low-key Christmas this year could save you time and stress, and make you realize what’s most important during this season. Do you have any tips for keeping your Christmas low-key? Share below in the comments!